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If you are living with your parents, chances are they will be the ones taking care of the car’s maintenance and bringing it to the auto shop for service. However, when the time comes that you are on your own, it becomes your responsibility to maintain your car. Keep in mind that this task can be time-consuming and expensive. However, the investment you make now can save you a lot of money in the future.

Remember, your car won’t take care of itself. Don’t be like other car owners who only change oil once or twice a year because they forget. Make it a habit to regularly maintain your car and don’t rely on your folks to remind you when it’s time for an oil change or tire rotation. Here are some fundamental tasks you need to do to ensure your vehicle is always in tip-top shape.

Three Simple Tasks

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While filling up your tank at a gas station, you can use your time to do these three simple things. Instead of just standing at the gas pump, take a moment to perform a quick check-up and some cleaning on your car.

Clean Your Car’s Windshield

Keep in mind that a dirty windshield can obstruct your view while driving on the road, so it’s important to clean it regularly. Use a squeegee at the gas station and start cleaning from the middle to the sides of your windshield, then finish by moving from top to bottom. This is especially important after a long drive on the highway. You can also use the squeegee to clean your dirty headlights.

Check Your Tire Pressure

Maintaining proper tire pressure is essential for your safety while driving and can also save you money. Improperly inflated tires, whether under-inflated or over-inflated, can affect stopping distance and overall tire performance. They are also more likely to experience a blowout. Properly inflated tires improve fuel efficiency and extend tire life.

Most car manufacturers place a sticker inside your car indicating the recommended tire pressure—be sure to follow this number. It’s important to check your tire pressure regularly, as it can change as you drive and with fluctuations in temperature.

Check The Oil Level

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Motor oil is one of the essential things that keep your car performing well. It has a highly important task: lubricating all the parts in your engine to prevent them from grinding and tearing themselves. Additionally, it is responsible for transferring heat away from the combustion cycle and catching and holding all the unpleasant byproducts of combustion before moving them to the oil filter. If there is insufficient oil in your engine, then there is a greater risk of damaging your car.

That is why it is important to ensure that there is enough oil in your car. Make it a habit to regularly check your car’s oil. It is highly recommended that you do this whenever you fill up your tank; however, doing it every other fill-up might be sufficient. It’s very easy to check your car’s oil level. Before doing this task, wait for at least five minutes after you have turned off your engine so that all the oil can go back into the pan.

For a precise reading, park your car on level ground. Look for your engine’s dipstick, typically labeled with “OIL” or a picture of an oil can. Pull the dipstick out and use a paper towel to wipe it. Reinsert the dipstick all the way down, then pull it out again. Avoid turning it upside down since the oil will run upward and you won’t get an accurate reading.

At the bottom of the dipstick, you will find two marks, usually holes or lines. To read the oil level, note where the oily part ends and where the dry part starts. If the oil line falls between the two marks, then it’s fine. However, if it goes below the bottom mark, you should add more oil. But do not overfill; adding a quart is sufficient.

Most cars only consume a small amount of oil between changes. Manufacturers suggest that normal consumption is one quart for every 1,000 miles. However, some cars may lose more than this amount due to leaks or engine issues. If you need to add a quart of oil every 500 miles or more, take your vehicle to an auto shop immediately to check for any leaks or engine problems.

Be Wary of the Maintenance Schedule

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In addition to the frequent tasks mentioned above, there are also some less frequent maintenance tasks that need to be performed on your vehicle. These tasks are crucial to ensure your vehicle lasts longer. Some of these tasks include tire rotations, oil changes, and transmission fluid replacements. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and avoid following your mechanic’s or dealer’s maintenance schedule. Often, they recommend more frequent maintenance than necessary.

For example, most dealership service shops might recommend an oil change every 3,000 miles. However, many modern engines can run for 5,000 miles before needing an oil change. Another example is coolant replacement.

Some mechanics suggest replacing it every 30,000 miles, but many vehicles don’t need this service until they reach 120,000 miles. Manufacturers often recommend coolant replacement every 60,000 miles after reaching the 120,000-mile mark.

Instead of relying solely on what your dealer or mechanic advises for servicing your car, consult your owner’s manual in your glove compartment. Look for the section listing the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule. Here, you will find when to rotate the tires, change the oil, and replace parts and fluids in your car.

If you can’t find your owner’s manual, a quick Google search can provide this information. By following your vehicle’s recommended maintenance schedule, you can save on costly repairs, check-ups, and replacements and enjoy many years of driving your car.

Keep Your Vehicle Clean

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In addition to performing regular maintenance, it is also vital to take good care of your car.

Regularly Wash Your Car

As we use our cars every day, they are exposed to various elements such as grime, grease, salt, sun, dead bugs, tree sap, smog, and more. Keep in mind that these substances can wear down the paint and metal of your car over time. Although the damage may not be immediately visible, these elements can cause corrosion and reduce the resale value of your vehicle.

Treasure Valley Auto Care can assist you in caring for your car. We offer various auto services, including car repairs. Simply call us at 208-385-0339 or email us at